This year is going to be a big one for Knott’s as they’re celebrating 100 years. That means extra attention for all of their events, extra spit and polish on everything, and they started it off right with a great presence in the Pasadena Tournament of Rose New Year’s Day Parade.
This is the first seasonal event of their 100 Year Celebration (if you don’t count the final days of Knott’s Merry Farm at the beginning of the month, but let’s not get nit-picky here) and their third year honoring the little rugrats that are found around the park.
Outside of Camp Snoopy, it can be hard to realize the partnership that Knott’s shares with Peanuts, so it’s always interesting to see a glimpse of what the park would look like if the characters populated every land in the park. When I first began mentioning that the Peanuts Celebration was beginning soon, I was surprised at how many people went out of their way to ask if Jelly of the Month Club was performing again. Suffice to say, they’re the big hit of this event. They’re the nighttime show and their show is improved even more this year, with a lot more on-stage antics. So rest assured, the goofy kiddie rock band has returned and is just as great as ever, with appearances from Jimi Houndrix, Paw Prince and Sir Bark-a-lot, among many others. Woodstock is around this year, too and he’s hamming it up from his nest, participating as best he can. While that’s the nighttime entertainment, during the day time there’s a new song and dance show on the same Calico Mine Stage titled “Happiness Is…” featuring energetic dancers, and heavy use of the monitor above for singing along which is great to see. It’s the newest entertainment offered this year and only offered a few times a day around noon, so you might need to make an effort to see it. Not too far away from that stage is Charleston Circle Fountain where multiple times a day a bunch of the characters will come out for a dance party. This is a good chance to see Schroeder and others you might not usually see up close.
In Camp Snoopy, they have the Space Beagle show which is really far too catchy for its own good. Paying homage to their partnership with NASA, the Space Beagle show is a good show for all ages, if you can manage to find a good viewing spot. Using a spinning satellite as a sing-a-long mechanic is pretty clever, and the ending with the surprise aliens is also good for a chuckle.
Plus, around Camp Snoopy are a ton of word balloon photo opportunities and even a really clever “Child to Teacher Translator” which is an amazing work of art. It really works, so if you find it, definitely give it a shot. Not too far from there is the “A Trip to Beagle Bonanza” on the Grand Sierra Railroad where the kids train has been plussed up with the seasonal overlay featuring a lot more of the Peanuts characters and a bit of a story. How often do you get to see Olaf featured in the park? Down the road, “Spike’s Discoteca De Silencio” returns with the amazing host, DJ Cactus Jack. Plus, the most glaring issue has finally been rectified this year, with Spike himself making an appearance. Pigpen was the most recent addition of the characters to the crew around the park, and now Snoopy’s tumbleweed-loving brother makes an appearance in the park, whiskers and all. Lucy is around too, so you never know who might show up.
The silent disco is a great concept and great that Knott’s isn’t charging for it. While the onlookers see everyone moving around like weirdos in complete silence, with headphones it all makes sense. Plus because there are three different playlists, you can silently judge people in your group by which station they’re listening to, as you choose the superior one. Or, just enjoy yourself and have fun. But if you’re early enough, you can catch Spike out in Ghost Town at Calico Park, for a photo op, in between the Peanuts Cowboy Jamboree games. Yet again this is another venue pulling double duty. So if you want some fun games for the kids to compete in, this is where you’d want to go. Franklin and Linus are around to help out, too, along with posing for photos, of course.If you wander over to the barn, Pigpen and his namesakes will be around there. The little piggies are just adorable. Such a simple thing that brings so much joy, along with the stable of usual hoofed buddies in there. Say hi to Dave for me. Finally, at least in terms of entertainment, the Sketch School returns in the Bird Cage Theater hosted by the immensely talented Noel Cox, helping you craft a nice little headshot of a bunch of the Peanuts characters throughout the day.But that’s only one aspect of this event. The park is decorated head to toe in Peanuts themes. There are beautiful kites, strung up in the trees, and the Kite-Eating Tree is around these parts, too. There are photo ops right at the entrance to park to start the day off on the right foot. Even the Knott’s cast members have awesome looking costumes during this event, sporting a very neat black and white collared shirt with sketches of the characters over the front.It’s really nice how they found a nice balance to theming in the park without being as overbearing as the Christmas theme can be. It’s just a nice way to enjoy the park without the holiday barrage we’ve come to expect.
Additionally, the Sky Cabin has an alternate audio running, with Linus telling you about all the sites as you get a “Woodstock’s Bird’s-Eye View” of Buena Park and beyond.Finally, you can’t spend a full day in the park on an empty stomach. These in-park events have gone from having some token themed foods to just being a food festival on their own. The options this year have grown again as usual. There were a few standouts, like the Dilly Dilly Dog, a corn dog with a pickle in between the hot dog and corn batter. And the “Peppi Fries” also had their debut, too.Then there’s plenty of sweet treats, most leaning towards either Joe Cool’s favorite root beer, like with the Sarsaparilla Root Beer Float or some literal peanuts in the deep friend PB and J. (Get it? Peanut butter? Because of the PEANUTS Celebration? And jelly because the park is a BERRY farm?)
Whether or not you’re brave enough to try the Dilly Dilly Dog, the Knott’s PEANUTS Celebration runs weekends through March 1st, plus February 10th, 14th, and 17th. Tickets are included with park admission at https://www.knotts.com/.